Kripke and co. are doing some interesting parallel imagery this season. I'm really curious to see if it pans out into something big or if it's just a lazy retread of previously seen ground.
There have been lots of example of this...re-use of the Devil's Trap in Crossroad Blues for example. But I want to focus on Playthings for a minute.
All I can think about when Sam comes up out of the water after rescuing Tyler is how reminiscent it is of Dean's hero shot in Dead in the Water, when he comes up out of the water with the little boy. Also in DitW, Dean gets a thank you hug from the pretty mom. In Playthings? Sam gets the thank you hug from the pretty mom.
In Hunted, Dean about has his world ripped apart so he clings onto his lifeline, i.e. Sam, gripping his face between his hands. In Playthings, Sam's world is crumbling around him, so he grabs his lifeline, i.e. Dean, gripping his face between his hands.
It's sort of interesting use of repetitive images. I have a hard time believing it would be so blatant if it wasn't meant to be showing something, if it wasn't building to a bigger point. What that point is, I don't know.
That Dean is involved in Sam's destiny as much as Sam is? That they're two halves of one issue? (Wincest aside. No, really.) That Sam and Dean are going to switch roles between "hero" and "protector"? That they both play both roles equally? That they can never play both roles equally?
No clue, but it is interesting to think about.